Do you make your own paper?
The 2 handmade papers I use in my journals are professionally handmade to my specifications by paper making experts. I could make neither the quality nor quantity of paper I demand. I have tested many papers over the years and found two that best meet my needs. They are extremely durable because they are made out of recycled fabrics and are not only acid-free but bleed-free as well. The black papers and the bamboo papers are not handmade.
Are your papers archival?
Yes! All of the papers that I use in my journals and photo albums are archival! Many commercial papers are made out of ground up trees and therefore contain unstable molecules. These molecules rupture over time and leak acids, which can erode inks and cause the paper to tarnish or yellow. Since I want my books to be long-lasting heirlooms (and because I love trees) I use archival papers that contain no wood pulp.
Do I need a special pen to write on handmade papers? Do the handmade papers you use in your books bleed?
You can use any kind of pen or ink you like to write on my papers without fear that they will bleed. I only use papers that I have tested to be bleed-free. If you use a fountain pen, calligraphy pen, quill, or micro-tip pen I recommend the bamboo paper since its surface is smoother and more consistent than the handmade papers. The smoother surface will be friendlier to your nib. Of course, I suggest using a waterproof, fade-proof ink for the maximum preservation of your work. I highly recommend the Uni-Ball Vision Elite (the choice for those flying in planes…these won’t explode and leak all over you in flight!!) and Pilot G-2 pens are my new favorites... available in any office supply store.
Where do you get your leather?
Leather is sort of a touchy subject for a lot of people, and I understand that…so I really spend a lot of time searching for surplus leathers. I select oil-tanned hides of the highest quality from a variety of sources that discard any hide that is “imperfect” due to scars, scratches, brands, stretch-marks…anything that they would have to work their big machinery around. Typically, the hides come from boot makers, handbag manufacturers, belt makers, etc. I take these hides and do my best to incorporate those “range marks” …and most of my customers appreciate the uniqueness that this lends to each book. Of course, there are only a few pieces out of each hide that have these markings, and some books will end up pretty pristine. I tend to gravitate toward the ones with imperfections, they have character…doesn’t that make things a lot more interesting!?
Do I need to treat my book with any kind of leather conditioner?
Nope. All these books need is a lot of use….I typically tell people to kick ‘em around and abuse them as much as possible if they want them to look really delicious. The books will naturally develop a gorgeous patina over time if they are handled on a regular basis. So, please don’t let them just sit on a shelf…take them on an adventure! That’s what they are made for!
Are your books made to be refillable? Do you make book covers?
All of my book products are based on a traditional Italian design in which the pages are stitched directly to the cover. Because of this durable construction, my books will outlive us all! They are built to remain as heirlooms for the next generations to admire and are therefore not refillable. I specialize in my exclusive line of books and do not produce covers or similar items.
Is the “handmade cotton watercolor paper” just for painting or can I write on it too? Which paper is best for writing?
The watercolor paper is made custom for me with watercolor artists in mind, so it is excellent for painting. But all of my papers are equally great for writing with medium nib pens. Both handmade papers have smooth-ish surfaces with just a slight, satisfying “tooth”. Since the bamboo paper is not handmade, it is the smoothest of them all, and by far the most versatile for use with micro-tip pens, pencils, and even light watercolor. Currently I am low on the handmade watercolor paper, and only making books custom with this paper. If you would like one, please call me to make your request.
What is your Shipping Policy?
I ship everything USPS Priority Mail unless the customer requests otherwise. And turnaround once the order is placed ranges from 2-10 days depending on the custom nature and/or quantity of books in the order. Most books are made custom by hand once the order is placed.
What is your Return Policy?
Iona Handcrafted Books’ return policy is simple. We do our best to choose a leather for you that will satisfy you completely, but since each hide is different (due to the nature of natural materials) it is possible that you might receive a book that appears different from your expectations. If this is the case, and you would like to exchange it within 14 days, just call us at 512-247-4700 and let us know the issue, and we’ll work it out for you. We’re a small hands-on studio and cannot do refunds, but we will not be happy until you are. So we promise to do our best to make sure that you are completely satisfied! Thank you so much! All custom orders are non-refundable & non-returnable.